For your next pizza night, mix things up with this Detroit-style Buffalo Chicken Pizza. It has a thick, chewy crust, bits of crunchy cheese caramelized around the edges, and the perfect amount of toppings. YUM!
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Detroit-Style Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Pizza night happens often in my house, especially when I have friends over for a game or movie night. This most recent pizza night, I made this delicious Detroit-style buffalo chicken pizza, and oh my gosh it was a hit! I basically took all the wonderful flavors of buffalo chicken wings and turned them into a pizza; talk about the perfect combination. It doesn’t get any better than this!
My introduction to Detroit-style pizza came not by way of Detroit’s legendary Buddy’s Pizza, but rather from Matt and Emily Hyland, the couple behind Pizza Loves Emily here in NYC; it was basically love at first bite. And if you’ve never had Detroit-style pizza before, let me tell you… YOU ARE MISSING OUT!
I developed and made this base pizza dough using Fleischmann’s® RapidRise® Instant Yeast, which I actually use in most of my yeasted baked goods. It’s reliable and it makes the rising time much, much faster without sacrificing any quality. Talk about a serious win-win! If you’ve ever been intimidated about recipes that use yeast, using Fleischmann’s® RapidRise® Instant Yeast is definitely the move! You simply add the yeast to the dry ingredients (instead of blooming it in warm liquid like active dry yeast), which not only saves time but also makes it super easy to use. If the idea of working with yeast is a little scary, I highly recommend checking out Fleischmann’s® Yeast for a ton of helpful tips!
What is Detroit-style Pizza?
Before we get into how to make Detroit-style buffalo chicken pizza, let’s talk about what Detroit-style actually means. Think of Detroit-style pizza as the best possible version of pan pizza. The almost focaccia-like dough gets golden brown and crunchy on the bottom while remaining nice and fluffy in the middle, and acts as a strong foundation for the hefty amount of cheese, sauce, and (in this case) shredded buffalo sauce-coated chicken breast that gets piled on top. It’s typically baked in a special dark anodized pan to achieve the perfectly crispy caramelized cheese around the edge, but a standard 13×9-inch baking pan works well too; the darker the pan, the better!
So, you might be wondering how this is different from a pan pizza… firstly the pie is built in reverse order: dough, cheese, toppings, and THEN sauce. This allows the crust and cheese to fuse together into one deliciously cheesy, doughy mass. Secondly, when the sauce finally does make an appearance it gets draped across the pie in rows. I personally love this because adding the sauce on tops means you don’t have to worry about a soggy crust, and it means that you get a variety of textures/flavors from bite to bite. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, the cheese goes all the way to the edges of the pan, which means you’ll definitely want to fight for an outside piece, because who can resist a crispy, golden brown, cheesy edge?
Ingredients Needed for Detroit-Style Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Like any pizza, this Detroit-style buffalo chicken pizza comes down to three main components – dough, sauce, and toppings. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Bread flour: Bread flour helps us achieve a crust that’s crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
- Fleischmann’s® RapidRise® Instant Yeast: It’s fast-acting and super reliable which helps us go from zero to pizza in no time at all!
- Fine sea salt: Salt helps control the yeast.
- Water: To make our high-hydration dough!
- Oil: To add a supple fat to the crust. I’ve tested both olive oil and corn oil and both yielded delicious results, so use whatever you prefer!
- Chicken: You can totally shred any leftover cooked chicken you have on hand, or you can pick up a rotisserie chicken the next time you’re at the store! I lightly seasoned and baked two medium-sized boneless skinless chicken breasts and then shredded them all up.
- Buffalo sauce: This is buffalo chicken pizza, after all…
- Cheese: Use a cheese that’s flavorful and melts well, but that won’t waterlog the dough. I used a combination of a block of whole milk, low moisture mozzarella (which you can usually find in the refrigerated cheese section of your grocery store) as well as shredded mozzarella. I also grated some fresh parmesan cheese on top after baking the pizza!
- Pizza sauce: Feel free to make your own pizza sauce from scratch, if that’s your thing! Your favorite jarred sauce will work just fine too.
How to Make Detroit-Style Buffalo Chicken Pizza
- In a large bowl, mix together the bread flour, salt, and Fleischmann’s® RapidRise® Instant Yeast.
- Pour in the warm water and oil and mix it all together until combined. Knead for 3-4 minutes.
- Pour a few tablespoons of oil into 13×9-inch baking pan and spread it around. Add the dough to the center and, using your fingers, press dimples into the dough. Set your timer for 10 minutes and cover the dough with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel.
- At the 10-minute mark, return back to the dough, and continue dimpling the dough using your fingers, working it closer to the edge of the pan. Set your timer again for 10 minutes and cover it once more.
- At the 10-minute mark, return back to the dough, and dimple it until the dough reaches the edges and the corners. Cover it and allow to rise for 1 hour.
- Once the dough has risen, add 13 oz of the cheese in an even layer. Top it with the buffalo chicken, and the remaining 3 oz of cheese. Then drape the sauce on top of the cheese.
- Transfer to a preheated oven and bake for 12-15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then slide it onto a large cutting board.
Detroit-Style Buffalo Chicken Pizza Recipe Troubleshooting & FAQ
DETROIT-STYLE BUFFALO CHICKEN PIZZA: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I use all-purpose flour instead of bread flour for the pizza dough?
Yes, you technically can… BUT it won’t yield the same results bread flour will. For my food science lovers, the high-gluten content in bread flour delivers that supreme, crispy-crunchy outer crust while still keeping that soft and chewy center we all love. I say it’s worth it to splurge on a sack of bread flour; you’re definitely going to make this pizza more than once!
Can I make the pizza dough ahead of time?
Absolutely. You can prepare the dough ahead of time and allow it to rise overnight in the fridge instead.
Why use tomato sauce?
The tomato sauce helps balance out the spiciness from the buffalo sauce while also making it closer to a more traditional-style pizza. Feel free to replace it with something like a drizzle of ranch dressing, if that’s more your style!
How should I reheat this Detroit-style Buffalo Chicken Pizza?
I suggest using a conventional oven for a perfectly crisp outside, warm, saucy inside, and a gooey layer of cheese. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C), line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and arrange the slices on top. Mist or drizzle a bit of water (to add moisture) and cover loosely with foil. Bake until hot and melty, about 15-20 minutes.
Why is this recipe in grams?
I post my recipes in grams as it’s the most accurate way to bake and it’s how I develop them; cups are not only inaccurate but they vary in volume worldwide! In any event, if you look at the recipe card underneath the ingredients list, you can click “US Customary” and it’ll convert to volume measures!
DETROIT-STYLE BUFFALO CHICKEN PIZZA: TROUBLESHOOTING
Help! My dough isn’t rising! What’s wrong?
Yeast has a “use by” date. As it moves beyond that time, it loses its oomph. Check the date printed on the package to make sure it’s within its usable life.
If your yeast hasn’t expired, then you likely accidentally killed it by adding liquids that were too hot. The ideal temperature of the water is between 120°F (48°C) and 130°F (54°C); I recommend getting an instant-read thermometer to ensure you don’t waste your ingredients!
Help! My pizza dough is extremely sticky and difficult to knead! What did I do wrong?
Pizza dough that is too sticky is a very common problem but it is actually really easy to fix! Sticky dough is almost always caused by a dough that is too hydrated. This basically means that you have added too much water (or not enough flour) to your dough. The fix is simply incorporating a little bit more flour!
Do take note, however, that this is a high hydration dough (around 65%) which helps to create a lighter, airier pizza crust. So be careful to not add too much flour! The dough *should* be a little sticky/tacky; having a bench scraper nearby while kneading the dough will help you manage the dough better (as seen in the below recipe video).
Help! My pizza tastes doughy and underdone! What did I do wrong?
If your toppings are cooked but your dough is still raw, that indicates that there has been enough heat coming from the top but not from the bottom. Make sure you lower the oven rack to the bottom third of the oven, which will allow you to cook longer without burning the top. Cooking your pizza on a pre-heated pizza stone or steel can also ensure a good base temperature.
If you’re halfway through cooking and need a fix for right now. Reduce your oven temperature by 70ºF (20ºC) and lower your oven shelf one rack. Cook your pizza for 3 more minutes and then check on it again.
Detroit-Style Buffalo Chicken Pizza
For the Pizza Dough:
- 250 g bread flour
- 7 g Fleischmann’s® RapidRise® Instant Yeast
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 160 g water warm
- 21 g oil (olive oil or corn oil)
- oil as needed
For the Toppings:
- 370 g mozzarella cheese cubed
- 405 g shredded chicken
- 120 g buffalo sauce
- 85 g shredded mozzarella
- 270 g pizza sauce
- crushed red pepper flakes optional
- Italian parsley optional
- In a large bowl, combine the bread flour, salt, and Fleischmann’s® RapidRise® Instant Yeast. Add the water and oil, and mix with a spatula until a shaggy dough forms and there are no dry parts. The dough will be wet and sticky; this is normal!250 g bread flour, 7 g Fleischmann’s® RapidRise® Instant Yeast, 1 tsp fine sea salt, 160 g water, 21 g oil
- Knead on a lightly floured surface until elastic, about 4 to 6 minutes. Transfer the dough back to the mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Generously drizzle a 13 x 9-inch (33 x 23-cm) nonstick baking pan with oil. Turn the dough out into the pan and turn it to fully coat it in the oil. Gently spread and shape the dough into a rough rectangle shape by pressing it down and dimpling the surface with your oiled fingers. The dough won't reach the edges of the pan at this time. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow to rest for 15 minutes.oil
- Uncover the dough and continue dimpling and stretching the dough out with your fingertips. It should be a little more than halfway to the edges by now. Cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow to rest for 15 more minutes.
- Return to the dough and dimple and stretch the dough, using extra oil on your hands as needed, until it reaches the edges and corners of the pan. Cover the pan and allow to rise for 1 hour. This will be the last rise required!
- Position an oven rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 500°F (260°C).
- Remove the plastic wrap from your dough and, if necessary, coax any dough back into the corners of the pan. Add a generous layer of cubed, low-moisture mozzarella to the surface of the dough, making sure to take it all the way to the edges of the pan.370 g mozzarella cheese
- In a medium bowl, combine the shredded chicken and buffalo sauce and stir until the chicken is evenly coated. Add the shredded chicken on top of and in between the cubed cheese, then top with the remaining shredded mozzarella. Spoon the pizza sauce in even rows on top, leaving some areas unsauced, and top with crushed red pepper flakes, if desired.405 g shredded chicken, 120 g buffalo sauce, 85 g shredded mozzarella, 270 g pizza sauce, crushed red pepper flakes
- Bake for 13-15 minutes, until the edges are a deep golden brown and the cheese is melted and bubbling on top. Sprinkle chopped parsley on top and allow the pizza to cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then carefully remove the pizza to a cutting board.Italian parsley
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